Sourdough Potato Bread with Onion & Dill

The joy of baking homemade bread, for me, is second only to the bliss of eating it. Or is it the other way around? When I established my sourdough culture in early 2016, I wasn’t sure how successful the adventure would be or if I would tire of eating “only” sourdough. As I’ve declared here several times, though, sourdough is not exclusively a flavor of bread, but a method of giving rise to the dough, and I rarely use commercial yeast in any form of bread anymore—whether it’s pizza dough, English muffins, waffles, soft pita breads, challah or focaccia. For me, there’s no turning back, and I cannot imagine tiring of it. Sourdough rules!

The potato bread I’m sharing today is my adaptation of a sandwich bread recipe I’ve grown to love by King Arthur Baking Company. KA’s version of this bread uses dry active yeast, but I’ve converted it by conjuring my math skills; I’ve swapped out equal amounts of liquid and flour (by grams, of course) for the appropriate percentage of my ripe-and-ready starter (sourdough nerds understand me). The result is terrific on its own, but I’ve recently taken the recipe a bit further with the addition of minced onions and a dill swirl and—well, wow.

The dill swirl lends a nice touch to your favorite sandwiches. My hubby especially loves it with his tuna salad and a fresh leaf of lettuce.

The recipe itself is unusual, in that the mixed dough does not have an initial rise at room temperature; it moves directly to the refrigerator for cold overnight fermentation. It’s very sticky dough that is not easily kneaded, so I recommend use of a stand mixer if you have one. After chilling overnight, the cold dough is easier to handle and shape into a loaf to proof at warm room temperature until it’s ready to bake. Words don’t adequately describe the aroma that wafts from the oven.

The cooked Yukon gold potato and softened butter lend a soft texture and lovely gold color, and the onion and dill I’ve added make it a great choice for all kinds of sandwiches. My hubby declared a few mornings ago that this sourdough potato bread may be his favorite bread ever for breakfast toast. Of course, he has said that about my soft sourdough rye, too (I’ll share that one soon).

My ingredients are measured by weight, because that’s how I bake. I highly recommend a digital scale for consistent results in any kind of baking, but especially for bread. If you’re not ready to get on the sourdough train, you can still enjoy this bread. Follow the original instructions offered by King Arthur, but halve the ingredients, as KA’s recipe makes two loaves. The onion and dill flavors are my own Comfort du Jour twist.


Adapted from King Arthur Baking Company
Makes one loaf

Ingredients

1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into large chunks (boil and mash the potato, then measure out 100g for use in this recipe)

100g ripe sourdough starter (fed 8 to10 hours earlier; my starter is 100% hydration)

100g lukewarm water* (include the potato cooking water in this total)

40g (about 3 tablespoons) sugar

260g unbleached all-purpose flour*

80g white whole wheat flour*

1 large egg (room temperature)

1 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened to room temperature.

2 Tbsp. dried minced onion, rehydrated 15 minutes in 2 Tbsp. warm water (optional)

2 tsp. dried dill leaves (or 2 Tbsp. fresh dill if you have it)


*Notes

Reserve the water used in cooking the potato, and add more water to total the amount needed for the recipe. The potato starch in the cooking water will add to the fine texture of the bread.

The original KA recipe calls for only all-purpose flour, but I always swap in at least some amount of whole grain flour. Make it as you like, but don’t swap more than 25% of the total flour without also adjusting the ratio of liquid. My swap is within that suggested limit, and it works great.


Instructions – Day One


  1. Combine all ingredients, except butter and dill, in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until ingredients come together and form a shaggy ball on the beater blade, and all flour is incorporated. Scrape dough from beater blade. Cover and allow dough to rest 20 minutes.
  2. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough on low speed for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the pieces of softened butter, one or two at a time, and mix on speed 2 until each addition of butter is worked into the dough. Continue to knead at this speed for about six more minutes. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap or elastic cover and transfer immediately to the refrigerator at least overnight or up to 24 hours.

On Baking Day


  1. Lightly spray a clean countertop (and a 9 x 4” bread pan) with olive oil spray. Remove the refrigerated dough to the counter and use your fingers to spread it out into a rectangle shape, about 6 x 18”. Sprinkle the dough with the dill leaves.
  2. Beginning at one of the short ends, roll the dough up tightly, tucking in the ends as you go to keep the dough in a smooth cylinder shape. Use a bench scraper if needed to release the sticky dough from the counter. When you get to the end, pinch the seam closed. Tuck the ends as needed to fit the dough into the greased bread pan. Cover with plastic wrap or elastic “shower cap” cover and proof at warm room temperature until the dough rises above the top of the pan.  This may take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, depending on the strength of your starter and the temperature of the room.
  3. Near the end of rising time, preheat oven to 350° F, with baking rack in center position.
  4. Remove plastic wrap from pan and gently transfer the loaf to the oven. At this point, the dough may appear “jiggly;” you don’t want to cause it to collapse, so try not to jostle it too much. Bake at 350 for a total of 45 to 50 minutes, turning halfway through baking time to ensure even browning. At the halfway point, cover the loaf loosely with a foil tent to prevent over-browning. Bread is fully baked when it reaches 190° internal temperature. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a cooling rack. You may need to run a clean knife or plastic scraper along the edges of the bread for easier release. Cool at least two hours before cutting, and completely (this may mean overnight) before wrapping it up in a plastic bag.  
The dill makes a pretty swirl in this loaf, but you could easily substitute another favorite dried herb.

Want to make this bread?


First Fruits

Last week, when I came home from a weekly grocery run, I stepped warily toward the garden at the end of the driveway. I’m accustomed to feeling like a lousy farmer thanks to the herd of deer in our woods. With a sigh on my lips, I lifted back the giant leaves drooping from our squash and zucchini plants, anticipating root rot or squash bug infestation or something equally disgusting and disheartening.

Gasp—there’s life in there! Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Truly, nobody is more surprised than I am to find that our pitiful little raised bed is displaying its first fruits. Remember the carnage I found recently, in discovering that our eggplant and pepper plants had their tops chomped off? But as Jeff Goldblum’s character said in the original Jurassic Park film, “life finds a way,” and it seems to be true in our side yard. Hallelujah!

In addition to the first beautiful zucchini, which I almost left to grow another day (nope—I’ve learned my lesson there), we have lots of basil and a whole bunch of yellow squash blossoms. In past years, I mistakenly assumed that loads of blossoms would mean as many actual fruit. But unlike the reality of our “gender lesson” in bell peppers a few weeks ago, squash blossoms do present either male or female, and most of these will not be producing squash babies.

Most of these blossoms are male, meaning they will not yield a squash plant.

The male flowers are still important, naturally, for their role in pollination of the female blossoms. The hardworking bees, which have taken up residence in the nearby wildflower garden (you know what they say—location, location, location), will be blossom-hopping for the next few weeks to do just that. I hope we continue to see fruit on these plants, and now that I know they’re producing, I’ll be watching the undersides of the leaves to protect against squash bugs. I love zucchini and squash in absolutely every form, and I have a new spiralizer tool I’m eager to try, so I’m crossing my fingers.

And the basil—holy wow, the basil is growing like crazy but is in need of my immediate attention or I may lose the whole lot of it. If you haven’t grown your own, or maybe you have but with varying degrees of success, I’ll be happy to share what I’ve learned about properly tending to these fragrant summer herbs. When they start to show these little clusters on the ends of the stems, they’re getting ready to go to seed (or “bolt”), and that would be a disappointing end to my pesto goals because once it goes to seed, the basil leaves lose their full flavor and take on a bitterness that is most unpleasant.

This is a sign that my basil plant is getting ready to “bolt.” It’s time to prune!

A few years ago, a Pinterest post led me through a  simple basil pruning technique which made a world of difference in my herb gardening. The basil needs to be “pinched back.” Removal of those little clusters before they begin to flower will send a message to the basil that there’s more growing to do, and if you keep at it, the plant will continue to become bushier until you almost literally have basil coming out your ears. In my case, it might also help protect the other surviving plants in my garden because deer allegedly cannot stand the smell of basil. Here’s hoping!

It’s easy to do—get up close to the cluster and look for a point along the stem below it where twin leaves are positioned across from each other. Just above those twin leaves, pinch off the stem. That’s all there is to it. I usually take a kitchen scissors out to the garden with me and snip them rather than pinching. It goes faster, makes a cleaner cut and doesn’t leave my hands smelling like strong basil. The stems you snip will stop growing, leaving room for new stems to form from the twin leaves. Where there used to be one stem, there will soon be two.

As you go, the basil will require more frequent pruning because stems will multiply. But if there’s a big jar of fresh pesto at the end of it, I’m in! The plant may grow upward somewhat, but mostly you will see a bushy formation, and each time I prune, I’ll have plenty to use along the way to pesto heaven.

I’m going to find a simple way to use these in the kitchen.

It’s been an exciting day in the garden, and I’m going to whip up something delicious with my first fruit haul. I’ll show you in a day or two what I came up with.

Oh, happy day!